Friday, June 29, 2007
On this day, June 29, 1888, the earliest known musical recording is made. The piece, Georg Friedrich Handel's Handel's Israel In Egypt, is recorded on a paraffin cylinder.
Israel in Egypt, assigned the catalog number HWV 54, is an oratorio, a form in which Handel excelled. Like his more famous Messiah, Israel in Egypt is composed using biblical passages, mainly from Exodus and the Psalms.
Unlike the Messiah, however, it didn't enjoy much of a reception when it premiered in 1739. As a result, Handel shortened the work and inserted a few Italian arias to lighten the mood a bit.
Nevertheless, it was selected by Col. George Gourand, Thomas Edison's foreign sales agent, for the first musical recording. Gourand made his recording in London's Crystal Palace, using Edison's yellow paraffin cylinder -- candle wax, essentially.
Click Hear: Handel's Israel In Egypt.
(Source: Stanford University, National Park Service)
Check out this series of publications dissecting the Farm Bill by Matthew Foster, a graphic designer at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
Ah, the power of design.
Considering the potentially dry nature of these reports, the graphics are so powerful that they actually make me feel less intimidated by the complex subject matter and encourage me to read them. I think the decision to go in the direction of bold WPA inspired graphics and typography is both smart and appropriate.
Nice job Matthew.
Thanks to the smart folks at Back Space.